five years ago…

Adoption has been on my mind a lot lately…and no, we aren’t gearing up quite yet for number four.  I just keep seeing families with babies or dreams of babies and it makes my heart leap.  Birth in any circumstance in such a beautiful phenomenon and I’m in awe each time I see a new face brought into this world.

My oldest son is turning five in a month and it is knocking the wind out of me.  I remember like it was yesterday getting the call that we had been chosen by his birth mom… feeling a combination of freak out, total peace, and pure joy.  They told me he was due in a month, but not even one week after the first phone call she went into labor and our sweet Josiah was born.

We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl until 6 hours after he arrived.  We drove all night from Kansas City to Jacksonville, Fl on pure adrenaline…I literally drove 15 hours straight.  We were going to be parents.  A precious woman was deciding her son’s path as we drove those 22 hours full of hope and anxiety.  I still cannot believe she chose us.

Etched in my memory is the phone call we received around 7am, while still on the road.  “It’s a boy!  He’s here!”  She asked if we had a name, and we gave the one that God had spoken into Bart’s ear three years before…Josiah would be our first born son.  We tore open a Bible and started reading all the parts about Josiah as we barreled down the highway, trying desperately not to speed.  Tears of joy fell down my face, over and over, as I let myself imagine for the first time, what it would be like to have a son.

Little did I know what an incredible little boy we were given.  I could not have asked for a more precious and beautiful soul to care for as I began my journey of motherhood.  Even though I’d worked with kids forever, it was rough out of the starting gate.  I stumbled and fell and cried selfish woes…but my son smiled through it all.

I love to love my son.  He is one of a kind.*

*saving the rest of my gushing for his birthday post next month.

be the reason

There have been so many moments over the last few years where I’ve thought we are crazy…that God was crazy, for giving us three children in three years.  I can recall many freak-outs and I know I have repressed countless other moments-of-insanity throughout my short tenure as a mother.

But this morning I watched in awe as my three children laughed and played together and each interaction brought me closer to tears.  I am just so grateful.  A lot of miracles stand behind each Farrell baby entering our home, and to see the goodness that abounds as they bond as siblings is beautiful…I am sure there are many more fitting words to describe this, but the simple beauty struck me this morning.

Recently I’ve been watching as other families begin the exciting journey of adoption and as they ask for prayer and funds and help I get excited.  The prayer is easy- I have known many of the same fears and doubt, felt a lot of the same hope and excitement.  I love the giving too, and it would be easier if I had my dedicated “adoption” fund set up… it’s my dream and I believe with God’s help it will happen.  Being able to partner with God’s heart towards families is such an incredible gift and it boggles my mind why it seems so foreign to so many.  I smile when I think about all the generous people in our lives who gave towards our children’s adoptions…and they have an inheritance in our beautiful kids.  They get to reap the blessing from God simply because they gave.  We spend money on so many useless things- (I am very guilty of this!) and one of the biggest reasons people don’t adopt is because the finances are scary.

This is funny- I began this post with the idea that I would write about the joy of having three young children, but obviously my mind has drifted.  I do remember when people would say- ‘oh it’ll be so great when they are older- built in playmates’ and I’d smile and nod…stuck in my never ending diaper-feeding-napping schedules.  But now I see it.  It’s true.  They always have someone to play with…to laugh with…to comfort…to challenge… it’s beautiful.

My grandfather passed away this week.  I never really knew him, as he lived in Alaska and we traveled there only twice in my childhood.  People talk about legacys a lot when death enters the picture and its always something I have wondered about.  My extended family carries varied feelings towards my grandpa but I am so grateful that Bart and I were recipients of his overwhelming generosity five years ago.  His legacy lives on in our children.  As our adoption journey became eminent we sent out letters to let everyone know our plans and ask for support.  It was scary because we knew we’d offend some with our ask (and we did) but I will never forget the first response we received in the mail.

It was the most shocking one we ever got…a letter accompanied with a $10,000 check from a man I barely knew, my grandfather.  God used this gesture to cement our adoption plans and provide all the hope we needed to continue.  What an incredible gift that meant so much more than the dollar signs attached. There was still many more funds to be raised but I still remember where I was standing when I opened that letter and the feeling of relief that washed over me.   I often use this story to spur others on as they stare down the insane costs of adoption- it’s often the most unlikely of givers.  God can use whoever He wants, however He wants to…and he does, over and over again.  I am so thankful for my grandpa’s legacy, he chose to be part of the reason we were able to adopt.

I want to be the reason…

to dress a baby girl

I started this post a million days ago and just never got excited enough to complete it.  But- I am determined to now.  I get asked often where I shop for Myty and it’s always such a random answer…I don’t really like things that come in “outfits” usually but rather enjoy the challenge of putting pieces together.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes she comes down looking like a weirdo.  Ha!  I am including my favorite places to shop for my little Maya, who for reference is 17 months old.  This is not in order of importance, rather just as my brain brings ’em.

NextDirect is a store I found shortly before Maya was born.  It’s in UK but ships here for free if you spend over $40 which I do every time.  I have found a lot of staple wardrobe pieces here- like leggings, shirts, tights, simple dresses… They are great deals in my opinion, for great quality and uniqueness too- I have never met someone who knew about Next, which is not always important, but it does make it fun to dress my daughter in something no one else is wearing.

Hanna Andersson is pretty well-known and also great quality clothing.  I have always loved their pajamas, for my boys and now Maya.  Every once in a while I like the clothing, but mostly pjs are my jam here.  These are pricey, but they have great sales and their clothing lasts forever.

LaikynLeigh is a new small business I found recently.  Maya now has a gorgeous handmade knit cowl and an adorably sweet bonnet from this shop.  The owner is super friendly and the quality of her products is wonderful.

Baby Bling headbands are my absolute favorite.  These are not frilly- there is a little bow but they can be worn with it showing or hidden.  They are made of a nylon sort of material and are stretchy so they stay on really well.  I buy them at Nordstrom, but I’m sure they have their own website too.

And speaking of Nordstrom I will admit that I do shop for my kids there sometimes.  It can be very expensive, so I stick to sales unless it’s a special occasion.  I love that they carry a lot of brands that I like and it’s always free shipping/free returns for shopping online.  Also- Nordstrom Rack (if you have one nearby) is amazing and Hautelook– a Nordstrom flash-sale site is great too.

Back to headbands and hair stuff…Etsy is of course, my favorite go-to.  I’ve gotten headbands from SophiaCo and SadieSkyBoutique and for tiny new babies my favorite shops are The Brightside Studio and LittleBowPop.  My favorite hair clips come from my sister (etsy shop coming soon) and also EveryDotandTiddle and Masterpieces of Fun Art.

My most favorite place to buy Maya clothing is Zara and although I don’t buy a lot from there, every single piece I’ve ever ordered has been my favorite.  Seriously.  Adorable.  All of it.  They have sales a couple times a year too and I am sure I’ll be stocking up as she gets older.  I’ve never been to a Zara store, but someday I will…and will probably faint from the beautifulness.

April Cornell is a random throw in here, and though I’ve only stumbled upon this line last year in a cute store along the shore (which is mostly known for linens), I fell in LOVE with the dresses.  Maya’s first birthday dress was from there- and I love so many of their beautiful fabrics.

Gap is an old standby that I still find adorable things at…my boys pretty much lived in Gap clothing in the early years, so I sometimes feel the need to go beyond but I usually end up back on their website scouring sales.  I like basics there mostly- pants, shirts, plain dresses.

Carters and Oshkosh are really good for fleece zip up pajamas and sometimes I find a cute something else…but I find that their clothing tends to be too matchy-matchy for me (I am weird!) and too many words always.

Janie and Jack swimsuits are my downfall.  When Maya was born we got a huge box of clothing from this ridiculously overpriced store and I couldn’t wait to exchange a few of the items…and I discovered baby girl swimsuits there. O.MY.GOSH.  I die.

Cotton Bottom Designs is a new small shop I found recently and while it’s pricey, it has the most beautiful handmade jumpers and head wraps.  I finally bought one (the sell out super quick) and I am in love.

H & M is more of a favorite for boys…but I think as Maya grows up I will like it more in the girl department.  Their cardigan selection is epic though, can’t believe I just described a cardi section as epic but oh well.

Ok. I could keep going I am sure, but this has been in my “to finish” pile for way too long…so I am drawing this to a close.  Happy shopping!!!

celery

Every time I sit down to write a little in this space, something yanks me away.  I am CONSUMED in my brain with decorating ideas for our basement…which is coming along- insulation is this week and then DRY WALL.  I am not sure I ever thought I’d capitalize that word on my blog ever, but it has come to this.  DRY WALL makes me excited. Plumbing and electric…notsomuch.

Also on my brain is Easter dresses.  I will confess…I have bought 3 and returned all but one.  One was adorable but too curtain-y, the second was perfect except it looked odd on maya’s little body, and the third one is unique and bright and looks awesome on my little munchkin.  Unfortunately, it threw the whole “coordinating” sibling outfit idea right out the window which I decided was fine since they rarely sit still for an actual picture together anyway- alas.  Yes, the very important thing about Easter.  HA.

I just sat here for 3 minutes solid because I got distracted by…basement dreams. I know, it’s pathetic.  Seriously.

Ok. So, Maya is finally crawling out of her teeth pain haze.  Seriously the girl was depressed with feeling the constant ache, I swear.  Bart kept lamenting that he missed his sweet fun daughter and I had to agree- it was getting old.  But today- she emerged!!!  She’s back!  Molars are in, let the fun begin.

Spring is supposedly here, but every time I leave my house I feel bitter cold.  What. the. heck?  I can’t handle it much longer.  I’m not usually one to care much about coldness, bc I would rather be cold than hot…but seriously, I need to return to my first love- the beach.  There was a tease- 3 weeks ago…alas.

Currently two of three kiddos are in bed for the night but Regan is up because I let him nap too long.  Guess what he is ravenously eating?  Celery.  Yes, I kid you not.  Plain celery stalks.  He has already consumed ten full sticks. (?what’s the term)

Okay, I have come to this…talking about celery.  I gotta get out of here.  I am so sorry for the blatant lack of creativity flowing through this blog lately.  I’ll be back…when the basement is finished.

speechless

As I sit in the dark by the light of one lone candle flame, I am overwhelmed.  God’s vehicle into my heart tonight was a book that I bought many months ago, written by a dear woman I got to know briefly in Kansas City.  I knew bits and pieces of her journey and thus had deemed the book one-i-will-read-when-i-am-ready…and tonight for some reason, I heard a whisper.  He said read it now.

Two hours passed and a steady stream of beautiful tears came along…it was as if God himself was sitting with me, urging me to keep going, to remember and believe who He truly is and how much He loves abundantly.  I’m not sure why I’m writing at the moment, because He has left me speechless.

I feel so loved.  

It’s powerful to read another’s testimony of how they’ve walked through valleys and mountains with Jesus…it led me straight to His feet…in awe of who He is and how He loves.

I want to live my life with this feeling.  The feeling of being loved no matter what, by the God of the universe…my heavenly Father, my faithful friend, my constant cheerleader.  This is the gift He promised- His everlasting Love.  I know feelings can be fleeting at times, but some feelings are meant to root into our soul and plant.  I could not follow Jesus with my whole heart without feeling Him, and I don’t think He wants me to blindly follow either.  He cares about my frame, about my will, my emotions, my dreams, my quirks, my fears…He knows it all and STILL HE LOVES ME LIKE THIS.

He knows my name.

He is writing my story and cares about each day that I wake up to.  What a gift to behold… His love.  Thank you Sara for sharing His beauty so tangibly, and thank you Jesus, for everything.

 

*Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty*

currently…

currently…

wearing a new face moisturizer that is seriously awesome- so fresh and delicious smelling.  I confess, I don’t usually moisturize much except with a self-tanner lotion.  I know, horrible right.  Enter: Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream.  Now I will moisturize.

feeling very accomplished in life.  Excited for this new month and feeling like it will go by very quickly which seems fun- probably because I feel cold with all this snow.

enjoying dreaming about basement design and decor.  Our basement is finally beginning its trek to “finishdom” so I am feverishly pouring over paint colors and furniture options, light fixtures and toilets.  Okay, not excited about picking out a toilet, but it’s gotta be done.

smelling this amazingly awesome candle that came in the mail today.  It’s a Voluspa brand (Goji Tarocco Orange)– anthropologie carries the line, but I got this little tiny one from Nordstrom.  I wish there was a scratch and sniff thing for the computer- seriously so delectible.

eating air popped popcorn.  Yes…I traded in my stove popper for one that uses only air- figured it was healthier than oil and then I can justify using butter. Ha!

reading a ten pound book called Shantaram which was my bookclub’s pick for last month, but I never started it.  It’s supposed to be really really good and so I thought I’d buy the actual book and start reading.  It’s HUGE, like 900 pages or something.  And I confess, I’ve only read one page so far.  But I am determined to start reading again, and thus chose the longest book ever.

wanting another massage.  I got one yesterday and it was marvelous but I think I could go weekly.  Bart says no.  See basement reno budget.  I understand.  But still, I want.

needing a night away with my lovely husband.  Hoping that happens in March, or maybe April.  See basement reno budget.

drinking coffee with cream again.  Ohhhh it’s glorious!  And the best part is that I read that heavy cream is actually better for you than half-n-half so I am jumping on that band-wagon no questions asked.  I missed creamer…30 days was too long for us to be apart.

looking at all sorts of baby clothes for all the babies my pregnant friends are having.  I’m so excited.  And so thankful my baby is 15 months old.  I confess I have been looking at clothes for her too- can’t wait for summertime to see her in shorts and sandals and oh gosh.

helping Josiah write out Valentines for his classmates for the first time.  I thought I’d be that mom that does homemade ones with their kids…yeah, not so much this year.  I chose a step up from Target…Amazon hehe…dinosaur ones with temporary tattoos.  Also, it gives Josiah a chance to write his name a bunch, which he apparently needs to practice according to his report card.  Oops.

 

Whole30

Welp.  I did it.  The Whole30.  All of it.  It was grand.

If any of you know, I’m always up for trying out a diet.  It’s always been my MO to try something…and thankfully my husband has always been supportive, even when said eating plan costs A LOT of $.  So, enter Whole30- which IS NOT a diet persay, but more of a whole body reset…a way to give your body everything it needs and get rid of cravings and toxins…teach your body to fat adapt (burn the fat you have because you’re not feeding it sugar)…and so much more.  (And there are no up front costs at all- it’s more about buying certain things like sauces, condiments, snacks that can add up).

Normally I have a hard time having freedom to choose what I eat…it’s too much work for me.  In the past, I’d rather get on a plan that picks your food for you, or even better, provides the food/shakes.  However, I really want to be healthy more than I want to be skinny so I gave Whole30 a try.  The true purpose of this plan is not about weight loss, it’s about ridding your body of toxins and feeding it real whole foods.

I lost 12 pounds which is so awesome!!!!  But the reason I am going to continue on this plan is not because of the weight loss…it’s for the myriad of other cool things that changed in my body.  The best part being my moods- in the past couple years I have become increasingly more moody, which I hate.  Throughout this whole month I was generally happy, relaxed, chill…it was such a gift.  My energy levels are so much better as well- and I sleep great.  My skin is clearer- though I’ve never really had acne or anything like that- my skin is noticeably brighter…my hair is fuller… and I’m much more regular with, ya know.

I also have noticed I don’t need nearly as much food to keep me satisfied.  And I am making better choices for my family as well- since I had to cook a lot more during Whole30, it forced me to cook more overall.  My husband and my kids weren’t doing the plan, but they did get a lot of veggies and lean protein.  This month made me very aware of what I would love my lifestyle to be.  It’ll be a slow process of ridding our home of toxins and deciding what can stay…but I’m committed to sticking with the program except for creamer in my coffee.  I missed that immensely.

In case you are curious about Whole30 I would highly recommend reading the book-  It Starts With Food to get a handle on the whats and whys…but reading through the website will get you most of the information too.  I will also be honest in saying it wasn’t easy- especially in the beginning.  Killing the sugar cravings was the hardest  for me, and I know I’m not there yet- I still crave sweet and run for fruit…but that’s progress…I’m not running to chocolate.  And about week 3 I got very bored with food in general.  But it’s SO WORTH pushing past all the struggle because I have never finished something like this without wanting to bury myself in ice-cream and fries and candy…I literally only wanted creamer and popcorn.

The idea is to start a process of reintroduction after the 30 days, if you want to add any eliminated food into your diet.  The beauty of this is that you can find out how your body responds to certain foods…like dairy, grains, sugar, legumes.  Then you can decide whether or not to continue eating those added-back-in foods, or if it’s just not worth it.  I’m interested in my reactions to cheese, but going to wait awhile to introduce that.  For now, I want to be pretty strict, because my body is feeling great and I have a lot of weight to lose.  I strongly believe that the lack of sugar intake for my  body is the most important in my weight loss journey.  It was amazing to find where sugar hides…often in things I had would have never guessed contained sugar.

I could keep writing and writing because I feel so good, but my kids are calling…